Shorter Question Everything
It’s only a matter of time. And not only him. This ruling only codifies the open season.
• Martin Luther King Jr. in hoodie image to honor Trayvon Martin goes viral.
• What George Zimmerman Can Do Now: Some night very soon, if he so chooses, George Zimmerman can load his piece, tuck it into the back of his pants, climb into his SUV, and drive around Sanford, Florida looking for assholes and fucking punks who are walking through neighborhoods where he, George Zimmerman, defender of law and order, doesn’t think they belong.
• George Zimmerman Shouldn’t Have Had A Gun. Every step of the way, it’s become clear that Zimmerman is the violent thug, and he and his meathead family are a bunch of simmering rage machines that have built up paranoid visions of the world to justify being hateful and, in Zimmerman’s case for sure, violent. And that’s what I keep coming back to: With Zimmerman’s history of violence, the fact that he had access to a gun and a right to concealed carry in the first place is beyond the pale. Here is some of Zimmerman’s past that has been covered up in the racist bloviating from wingnuts over this case: “In July 2005, he was arrested for“resisting officer with violence.” The neighborhood watch volunteer who wanted to be a cop got into a scuffle with cops who were questioning a friend for alleged underage drinking. The charges were reduced and then waived after he entered an alcohol education program. Then in August 2005, Zimmerman’s former fiance sought a restraining order against him because of domestic violence. Zimmerman sought a restraining order against her in return. Both were granted. Meanwhile, over the course of eight years, Zimmerman made at least 46 calls to the Sanford (Fla.) Police Department reporting suspicious activity involving black males.” Under common sense gun regulation, Zimmerman would have permanently lost his right to concealed carry when he assaulted a cop.
• The Justice Department says it is looking into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.
• White rage: If there is no justice, there can be no peace. But in the American South it seems white folks suddenly believe that decorum and charm are a proper response to unspeakable acts of violence and unconscionable injustice. The day before a jury delivered an acquittal in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger and Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith gave a national press conference to appeal for a peaceful reaction to the verdict — regardless of its outcome. Eslinger, who is white, said “We will not tolerate anyone who uses this verdict as an excuse to violate the law.” The veiled threat of an aggressive police response to imaginary civil unrest belies the very logic that led to Trayvon Martin’s death to begin with. For, you see, African-Americans are never protected or served by the law enforcement apparatus — yet they are always subject to its military might. Sanford police coyly “tolerated” the actual killing of an unarmed black child, but yet refuse to “tolerate” any anger expressed for the acquittal of his murderer. This is the new Jim Crow realized. This arrogant call to remain calm in the face of such fatal injustice reveals a basic disregard for the humanity of black people. It is this fundamental disconnect — an unwillingness or inability to see African-Americans as fully realized human beings — that allows whites to blindly ignore the need for equal treatment and equal justice. It is this warped mentality that led George Zimmerman to murder an unarmed child, feel no remorse and say it was “God’s plan”.
• Florida Codifies that Your Stalker Can Legally Murder You If Threatened: Last Saturday night, the Florida jury in the George Zimmerman murder trial declared that if you defend yourself against an armed stalker to the point where your stalker fears bodily injury, he can kill you “in self defense”. It doesn’t even matter if that fear is justified or not. All they have to do is claim they feared for their life, and anything they do after that is justified. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more asinine ruling in my life. Think about it. If Trayvon Martin had been an attractive white girl that was being followed by a man with a gun, and she took it upon herself to kick his ass, at which point he shoots & kills her in the name of “self defense”, is there any question Zimmerman would be sitting in a concrete room with striped sunlight right about now? What is even more troublesome is that the Florida ruling has just provided criminals with an added incentive to kill their victims to ensure that only one side of the story (theirs) is ever heard.
• Zimmerman Prosecutor Angela Corey’s Smile Is Under Fire. A post-verdict statement made by Angela Corey, Florida attorney general for the prosecution of George Zimmerman, came across to many viewers as callous and bizarre — Corey, who had just lost her case, spoke with a certain air of victory (more than one observer noted that the perceived satisfaction and attitude of gracious thanks was almost Academy Awards acceptance speech-esque) and what the Boston Herald’s Peter Gelzinis described as “the weird smile of an event planner.”
• The most damning element here is not that George Zimmerman was found not guilty: it’s the bitter knowledge that Trayvon Martin was found guilty.
• Lester Chambers, a seventy-three year-old musician known for his work as a member of The Chambers Brothers, was assaulted on stage at a blues festival last night after he dedicated a song to Trayvon Martin. Chambers’ son, Dylan, posted the following on Facebook last night: “Lester was just assaulted on stage at The Russell City Hayward Blues Festival by a crazed woman after dad dedicated People Get Ready to Trayvon Martin. He is on the way to the hospital now.” Kurt Crowbar Kangas, a musician and friend of Lester’s, later posted in the comments thread: “Lester is fine, just a bit sore and he will feel it tomorrow, the woman who attacked him was white and yelled something like “it’s all your fault” before she hit him, he went down hard but was halfway caught by Barren, thank God, she was subdued by Police and taken away while the para-medics came and took him to a local Hospital where he went thru a series of cat scans, no broken bones, the only injury for now is a 8? scratch in the kidney area of his back and it’s starting to swell. Thank you for all your well wishes, he will be up and running soon.”
• The rule of law: My rage is made all the more sure by those who are “encouraging” black people not to “riot.” They urge us to follow and respect the rule of law. Because, of course, it is black people who need to be reminded of the rules. Even though it is we who peacefully assembled by the thousands all over the country and marched in order to turn the wheels of due process. And it is we who waited patiently for 15 months for this case to be brought to trial. And it is we who have yet again been played for fools as we waited fervently for justice to be done. On the other hand, George Zimmerman deputized himself, sought a confrontation and then became judge, jury and executioner for a kid who committed no crimes. To ask black people to respect the rule of law is an exercise in missing the point, not to mention an insult.
• Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Monday compared the protests in support of slain African-American teen Trayvon Martin to a “lynch mob.”
• Surely every parent of a black child in this country has to grapple with teaching them some form of the Black Male Code. I remember the profound sense of what white privilege means hit me when one of my co-workers talked about how she had to make her son cut off his dreads when he was 13 so as not to make him a target. What mother of a white child has to think about those kinds of things? And what mother of a white child has to fear for their lives when they’re walking home from the store? What it all comes down to is that this is not a “black people’s problem” – even as it is their children’s lives at stake. Surely they will do everything they can to protect them. But the sad thing is that these kinds of things won’t stop happening until white people get their shit together.
• Because President Obama used the word gun in his statement about the Zimmerman verdict, Republicans are freaking out and claiming that he is coming for their guns. The idea that Obama was using Zimmerman’s acquittal to push gun control spread like a moronic virus across the right thanks to a post on Breitbart that said, “He added that Americans should “honor” the life of Trayvon Martin by committing to “stem the tide of gun violence,” and “ask ourselves if we are doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion in our communities.”
• Fox Waves Its White Hood: Tucker Carlson dusted off his white privilege Sunday on Fox and Friends with this, “I am positive that people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do not deserve to be called civil rights leaders. They are not. They are hustlers and pimps who make a living off inflaming racial tensions.”
• Open Season on Black Boys After a Verdict Like This. Let it be noted that on this day, Saturday 13 July 2013, it was still deemed legal in the US to chase and then shoot dead an unarmed young black man on his way home from the store because you didn’t like the look of him. There is no doubt about who the aggressor was here. It appears that the only reason the two interacted at all, physically or otherwise, is that Zimmerman believed it was his civic duty to apprehend an innocent teenager who caused suspicion by his existence alone. Appeals for calm in the wake of such a verdict raise the question of what calm there can possibly be in a place where such a verdict is possible. Parents of black boys are not likely to feel calm. Partners of black men are not likely to feel calm. Children with black fathers are not likely to feel calm. Those who now fear violent social disorder must ask themselves whose interests are served by a violent social order in which young black men can be thus slain and discarded. Since it was Zimmerman who stalked Martin, the question remains: what ground is a young black man entitled to and on what grounds may he defend himself? What version of events is there for that night in which Martin gets away with his life? Or is it open season on black boys after dark?
In other news
• Greenwald: Edward Snowden has highly sensitive documents on how the National Security Agency is structured and operates that could harm the U.S. government, but has insisted that they not be made public, a journalist close to the NSA leaker said.
• Portugal’s Socialist Party leader, Antonio Jose Seguro caused quite a stir by demanding “Lisbon renegotiate the terms of its bailout deal with Brussels.” Why? “The prime minister has to recognise publicly that his austerity policies have failed.”
• Gregory Calls Out McConnell for Calling Obamacare a ‘Bill’. You would think that a 28-year veteran of the US Senate would know the difference between a bill and a law. But not Mitch McConnell, whose rabid partisanship has blinded him to anything other than hating on President Obama. McConnell could not stop himself from continuing to diminish the president’s signature legislation to the point that even David “Fact checking isn’t my job” Gregory had to call him out. Asking about the outrageously offensive letter McConnell and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn sent to the NFL essentially threatening them against promoting Obamacare, Gregory pointed out that the ACA is established law now: DAVID GREGORY: I read the letter, Leader McConnell, and it was striking how political it was, that letter you wrote to them. You refer to it as a bill; it’s actually the law of the land, which has even been affirmed by the Supreme Court. How can you write such a letter at a time when don’t you feel the need for people to understand what the new law is?
• Welfare For The Wealthy: CBS host Bob Schieffer on Sunday confronted Republican Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) after his fellow Republicans in the House stripped food stamps from the farm bill. “You pass a farm bill in the House that gives billions of dollars, much of it to large corporations that own farms,” Schieffer noted. “It’s almost like welfare for the wealthy.” “But you don’t include a dollar for hungry people for food stamps. What kind of message is that?” the CBS host asked.
• UBC: Genomic survey of microbial ‘dark matter’ sheds light on BC’s unseen biodiversity. A landmark single-cell genomic study of microorgansims from sites across the globe is underscoring British Columbia’s role as an ‘oasis’ of biodiversity. The findings, to be published Sunday in Nature, could also prompt scientists to redefine how the tree of life represents relationships among and between life’s three domains. “British Columbia has long been recognized for its biological diversity in flora and fauna,” says University of British Columbia microbiologist Steven Hallam, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Genomics and one of the study’s authors. “What we’re discovering now is that our province is also an oasis for the vital biological diversity we can’t see—diversity encoded in the genomes of uncultivated, or wild, microorganisms.”